by: Frederick Foote
An offering of flash-fiction examining the chaotic origins of the “New” United States of America…
I’m not a scientist, a medical professional, or a historian. I’m just another brother on the block. I am, however, a photographer. I work for Black City, the local black newspaper. I was asked by our readers about the origins of the “New” United States of America. The downfall began with a flu virus that defied both science and logic, and eventually decimated the white population of the United States. What follows is my account on how the shit went down, to the best of my knowledge.
The “Black Flu”
At its onset, the flu attacked black people in such great numbers that the hospital systems in many cities were overwhelmed. The flu was an epidemic that appeared to be racially specific, infecting blacks only. The question from many blacks was: What the fuck have you done to us this time? Blacks and many non-blacks questioned the U.S. Government’s role in creating a black genocide virus. This belief persists even to this very day, despite vociferous government denials, and no evidence to support such speculation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) insisted that the black population remain in their homes and follow a protocol of “self-treatment,” which outraged many blacks and medical professionals. Black Leaders and medical professionals pointed out that the flu attacked entire families simultaneously, making it impossible for many family members to help themselves, much less each other.
Tensions came to a boil when the U.S. Military was tasked with keeping the infected quarantined, trapped in their own communities, to protect access to hospitals for others.
The situation was on the verge of catastrophe when, something truly amazing happened. People from all backgrounds and races, all across America, volunteered in staggering numbers to provide in-home care for victims of the “Black Flu.” Almost equally as amazing, the CDC, FEMA, (The Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the Red Cross organized, educated and equipped these volunteers to effectively intervene in the crisis nationwide.
Because of the intervention by caring individuals, and benevolent governmental organizations, it was estimated that tens of millions of black lives were saved. For the first time in the history of the United States, millions of whites crossed racial, ethnic, class, and cultural barriers to care for blacks. In six remarkable weeks, the nation broke with its racist history and was washed clean in selfless acts of service. It was a time for rejoicing, a celebration of the human spirit replete with optimistic attitudes and forgiving sensibilities from people of all colors, races, and ethnicities. The President and Congress declared a National Unity Week (NUW), a week of worship and commemoration of the values that made the United States so unique and unconquerable.
However, a closer examination of the facts revealed several uncomfortable truths. The “Black Flu” had an incubation period of about two days in blacks, and the flu’s symptoms persisted for at about four days. The initial consensus amongst the medical community was that most whites were immune to the virus. But, it soon became evident that whites were in fact not immune to the flu, instead showing symptoms after an incubation period of several weeks. Once this startling truth was uncovered, epidemiologists sounded the alarm well before NUW week, but the nation was already busy creating a narrative of hope and healing, and the scientist’s voices were drowned out.
The “Black Flu” mutated quickly in its hosts, creating subsequent less virulent sub-versions of the flu. By week three of the initial outbreak, the epidemic was far from life-threatening for blacks. In fact, the “Great White Intervention” was not responsible for saving millions of black lives. It became abundantly clear that the nation’s noble incursions towards achieving racial harmony may not have saved any lives at all.
In reality, the mortality rate for blacks from the “Black Flu” was less than one percent. Despite such news, it could not be ignored that there was this brief and shining moment in U.S. history that, unfortunately, transitioned to some of the darkest days in not just the United States, but in the history of the world.
The “White Flu”
The same flu virus that appeared to hit blacks also infected whites as well, and had a devastating mortality rate of around sixty-five percent, even with medical care. The survival rate for untreated white people was about nine percent. Whites were not happy campers when these realities began to sink in and they assigned blame for their plight to the very black people they had “saved.” They believed that these black “Trojan Horse” flu victims had infected them and set them up for genocide. This belief persisted and spread like wildfire despite the total lack of evidence to support it.
Indeed, the revelation that the white rescuers had saved no lives and had potentially endangered their own, and those of their families, only added fuel to the fires of anguish, fear, hate, and rage, and to the idea that this was a plot to wipe out whiteness in America. Whites rioted in unthinkable numbers and with unbelievable ferocity. Their targets were blacks, the CDC and the Red Cross. Blacks were attacked on sight. Black homes, schools, and businesses were destroyed. Over 360,000 lives were lost, about ninety percent of them black, during the six weeks of rioting that devastated the United States and alarmed the world.
Local law enforcement made little effort to control the rioting and in many cases even encouraged and participated in the rampages. The military was torn by internal racial strife and was unreliable in quelling the growing insurrection. It was only with the intervention of United Nations’ troops that the civil unrest and violence was controlled, and stability was restored to the nation. Against this backdrop of chaos and savagery, the New United States was slowly taking form.
I and others believed that the virus was not an indiscriminate killer. Like the Boll Weevil, the flu virus was looking for a home. I believe that blacks have endured so much shit in America, including the most recent riots, that the virus chose blacks as a host over whites because of our collective ability to survive. To date, the medical community, scientists, and philosophers have dismissed this idea as pure bullshit. Still, the idea perseveres and continues to grow in popularity even as we mourn the victims of viruses and violence. And so, that’s how I see it. I hope we have learned hard-fought lessons from the U.S. Holocaust. But, I need to stop here. I have an assignment to check out rumors of a new flu outbreak in the homeless shelter system.